Shoulders, biceps, back, chest, triceps and core — this Upper Body HIIT Workout with weights is a complete arm workout at home. Strength exercises to tone your arms are paired with upper body HIIT exercises to raise your heart rate and burn calories.
Pairing strength training with high intensity interval training both increases the intensity of the workout and makes shorter workouts more efficient. Performing “strictly strength” exercises, like an overhead shoulder press, becomes much more difficult when your heart rate is elevated.
If you want to strengthen your upper body and break a sweat at home, this is the upper body workout for you!
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Upper Body HIIT Workout FAQs
What Are The Benefits Of Upper Body HIIT Workouts?
Combining upper body strength training with HIIT is an efficient way to build muscle and burn calories. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is all about efficiency. HIIT workouts are effective at burning calories, increasing endurance, and increasing muscle definition.
What Is A Good Upper Body Cardio Workout?
Build upper body strength and increase cardiovascular conditioning with large compound exercises (exercises that hit multiple body parts). Examples of the best upper body cardio exercises include plank and rows (renegade rows), clean and presses, push ups, and burpees.
What Are The Best Upper Body HIIT Exercises?
The best upper body HIIT exercises increase the heart rate while targeting all the major muscles in the upper body. This includes the arms (biceps, triceps and shoulders), back (trapezius, latissimus dorsi, levator scapulae and rhomboids) and chest muscles (pectoralis major and pectoralis minor).
Can You Build Arm Muscle Without Going To The Gym?
Many of the most effective upper body exercises can be done at home with just a set of dumbbells. Dumbbell back rows, tricep extensions, bicep curls and shoulder presses are all examples of upper body strength exercises that can be done at home. If you don’t have equipment available, you can stay on track with bodyweight HIIT arm workouts.
35-Minute Upper Body HIIT Workout
Raise your heart rate and build strong shoulders, arms, back, chest and abs in around 30 minutes.
Targets: All three heads of the shoulder muscles — primarily the lateral head of the deltoid, but also engages the anterior and posterior heads (or rear delts).
How To Do Single, Single, Double Lateral Raises
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand at hip level, palms slightly out.
With a slight bend in each arm at the elbow, squeeze to lift the dumbbell in your right hand out towards the right in an arc shape, lifting to shoulder height. With control, lower the dumbbell to your hips.
Repeat, this time lifting the dumbbell in your left hand out towards the left in an arc shape, before returning to starting position.
Then, perform a “double” lateral raise by lifting both arms at the same time, raising the dumbbells out away from your body at approximately a 45-degree angle. Lift dumbbells just to shoulder height, then lower with control.
Overhead Tricep Extension
Targets: The triceps (back of the arm). This move also engages all the stabilizing muscles in the shoulders, core, glutes and lower back muscles.
How To Do Overhead Tricep Extensions
Start standing with feet hip-width apart, core engaged and knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell vertically between your palms overhead.
Slowly bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, bringing the dumbbell behind your head. Think ‘hide the dumbbell, show the dumbbell’, if you were watching yourself in a mirror. Keep your elbows close to your ears throughout the entire movement (don’t let your elbows flare out as you fatigue).
Squeeze through the back of your arm as you exhale, pressing the dumbbell overhead, arms fully extended.
Burpee and Push Press
Targets: Shoulders, back, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, abs and core.
This complex full body move adds explosive power to strength movements.
How To Do Burpees and Push Presses
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a set of dumbbells in your hands with palms facing in towards each other at your hips.
With a soft bend in the knees, hinge at your hips to lower your torso as you slide the dumbbells down in front of your legs to set the dumbbells on the ground on either side of your feet.
Perform a burpee by jumping your feet back to high plank position. Hands remain on the dumbbells.
Then jump your feet back in and immediately stand tall, driving through the heels as you pull the weights up towards your hips.
Then, curl the dumbbells to shoulder height and perform two shoulder presses, dipping at the knees before pressing the dumbbells straight overhead.
Reverse the curl, lowering the dumbbells to hip level and returning to starting position.
Modification: Perform walking burpees by stepping in and out of plank. Alternatively, you could perform burpees from an incline by placing your hands on a chair or bench.
Single Arm Row
Targets: The latissimus dorsi (or lats); largest back muscle. This unilateral exercise also engages the bicep and core.
How To Do Single Arm Rows
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Option to keep feet parallel or take a slightly staggered stance to better support your low back (stepping your right leg slightly behind your left leg).
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in towards your opposite hand (neutral or narrow grip).
Hinge forward at the hips maintaining a flat back, belly button pulled back towards your spine.
Pull the dumbbell back towards your right hip (think of pulling from your elbow joint versus your wrist), as if you were starting a pull-start lawnmower. Stop once your elbow is in line with your rib cage, making a straight line from shoulder to elbow. Hold the row at the top for a moment squeezing your shoulder blade in.
With control, lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and repeat. This is a slow deceleration of the weight through the full range of motion.
W-Curls (Standard Bicep Curl and Wide Bicep Curl)
Targets: The muscles of the forearms, the biceps muscles and rotator cuff.
The external rotation through the shoulder joint also strengthens the rotator cuff muscles and increases shoulder stability.
How To Do Standard and Wide Bicep Curls
Start with feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of you at hip height, elbows by your waist, and palms facing up towards the ceiling.
Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, keeping your elbows in place.
With control, lower the dumbbells to your hips.
Then, open through the chest as you rotate the dumbbells out towards the corners of the room, each palm about 45 degrees away from your body.
Hold this external rotation as you curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, before lowering to to your thighs (performing a wide bicep curl).
Rotate through the shoulders to pull the dumbbells back in front of your body, returning to starting position.
Dumbbell Row, Clean and Overhead Press
Targets: The lower back and upper back (specifically the lats and rhomboids), hamstrings, hips, glutes, core and shoulders.
How To Do Dumbbell Rows, Cleans and Overhead Presses
Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your hips, palms facing in towards each other.
Hinge forward at the hips, then “row” the dumbbells towards your torso, pulling your elbows towards your ribcage then lowering with control. Repeat twice, performing two narrow rows.
Then, drive through your heels to return to standing, “cleaning” the dumbbells up towards your shoulders. Your heels may pop off the ground. Think about “getting under” the dumbbell to catch it — this is a dumbbell clean. Catch the dumbbells at your shoulders.
Bend your knees, lowering 2-3 inches and then straightening the knees as you push the dumbbells overhead, arms extended straight over shoulders. With control, lower dumbbells back to shoulders.
Repeat this sequence, alternating two back rows with a dumbbell clean and an overhead press.
A big, full-body movement to build strength while also getting your heart rate up.
How To Do Woman Makers
Start in a high plank position, both hands on your dumbbells, shoulders stacked over wrists, core engaged.
Perform a push up by lowering your chest to the ground, letting your elbows fall back towards your hips, then exhale, pushing back up to starting position.
Then, perform a single arm plank row (or renegade row) on each side, pulling first your right elbow to right hip, then planting it on the ground and pulling left elbow to left hip before returning it to the ground.
Then, step or jump your feet up to meet your hands, landing in a low squat position.
Press through your heels to stand tall, pulling the dumbbells up your body as your hips drive forward.
As you stand, curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, then press overhead, stacking dumbbells over shoulders and keeping your core tight.
Reverse the movement, bringing the dumbbells back to shoulder height, lowering the dumbbells to your hips, and bending your knees to lower into a squat.
Plant the dumbbells on the mat between your feet at the bottom of your squat, and step or hop your feet back, landing in high plank position.
Modification: Step your feet in and out of plank position rather than jumping. And take push ups and rows from your knees.
Halo and Vertical Press Out
Targets: Shoulders, low back, and abdominal muscles.
This is also a great exercise to increase shoulder mobility.
How To Do Dumbbell Halos and Vertical Press Outs
Stand with your feet under hips, holding a dumbbell vertically at your chest, right hand at the top head of the dumbbell and left hand at the bottom head of the dumbbell.
Brace your core and perform a dumbbell “halo,” pulling the dumbbell in a smooth motion towards your left shoulder and then behind and around your head, ending with the dumbbell centered and vertical at your chest. Left hand is now at the top head of the dumbbell.
Then, press the dumbbell away from your body, keeping it in line with your shoulders. With control, return the dumbbell to your chest.
Repeat, this time changing halo directions. Pull the dumbbell towards your right shouler then behind and around your head, ending with the dumbbell centered and vertical at your chest, right hand on top.
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